Boy, 14, arrested for his role in seven burglaries

All took place in Killarney, amid sharp increase in Kerry break-ins

A 14-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of seven burglaries in Killarney over Christmas.

Chief Superintendent Tom Myers told a meeting of the Joint Policing Committee in Killorglin on Friday that there has also been a sharp, yearly increase in house burglaries in Kerry, and that local, as well as roving, criminals are responsible

The public is being urged to report suspicious activity, such as door-to-door calling, but also to “break the chain” and not to buy power tools and other goods at street fairs such as Puck Fair and Kenmare’s annual August 15 fair unless they can be sure of their provenance.

Travelling criminal gangs are arriving in Killarney town, dropping off individuals, and picking them up again when they have broken into houses and taken cash, electrical goods, and jewellery, said Superintendent Flor Murphy.

Some 245 burglaries were recorded in Kerry in 2017, up from 171 the previous year, but none involved violence against persons. Vehicle theft was also up sharply, to 124.

Sean Roche, a community representative on the JPC, said there had been “a scourge” of burglaries in south Kerry in recent years, and that people can no longer afford house insurance, “after being robbed day and night”. He also said “tourists are being watched on Rossbeigh and other beaches, and, when they come back, their stuff is gone”.

“It sends an awful message out. We are a tourist county,” said Mr Roche.

Cameras must be placed at major junctions and bridges, such as Killorglin, as “we are on our own in south Kerry,” he added.

Stolen goods are being sold on stalls at fairs, such as at Puck, said Fine Gael councillor Patrick Connor-Scarteen.

Kerry’s crime-prevention officer, Sgt Jim Foley, said everyone has a role to play and people buying from bogus traders are “part of the problem”.

“There is a chain to be broken,” he said.

Sgt Foley also urged the politicians at the meeting to lobby for tax relief for house alarms to encourage householders to get them.

Muintir na Tire representative Diarmuid Cronin said the erection of picture signs of smash-and-grabs had dramatically decreased thefts from cars on beaches in Co Cork.

Travelling gangs from east Kildare and Dublin are dropping off people at various locations in Killarney and collecting them after they have broken into empty houses. These opportunistic criminals would typically knock on doors and ask for directions, if someone answered. Generally, their method is to then force in windows and doors, if the house is empty, Supt Murphy said.

Mass times or day times, when people are working, are peak burglary times in Kerry, but a number of nightime burglaries took place in Killarney over Christmas, and local people have been arrested.

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